PLEASE NOTE: Please indicate School, School Board and CBE affiliation (Co-op, O2, other [indicate]) in comments section.
We, the undersigned Community Based Educators, would like to petition the NSTU to be able to form an association based upon the following rationale. (for full text of rationale, please refer to Appendix A) A) While many of us teach a diverse range of subjects, our single most important commonality is our commitment to the development and support of experiential learning endeavors for our students through the development and maintenance of partnerships with a wide range of community members. B) An association of Community Based Educators would allow our members to share best practices, professional development around common issues such as legal ramifications for community based education, questions of workplace health and safety, and issues as they relate to both rural and urban environments. C) In addition to learning opportunities through shared professional development, we envision such an association as an important tool in forging community partnerships and maintaining dialogue with our community members via newsletters, speaker presentations, and forums. Appendix A As a group, our teaching assignments are diverse. In the past, many of us have chosen to participate in an association connected to one particular subject. This, however, while providing for content area professional development, in no way addresses the second, and often larger part of our assignments – working with community members who are charged with mentoring our students over varying periods of time. It is important to note that the community members working with our students have a primary obligation to their various occupations, with a secondary focus on mentoring our students. Thus, it is our obligation as community based educators to support not only our students and their families but also our community hosts. This can be a very complex goal that we believe requires a sharing of expertise and resources among those of us who participate in these partnerships. In addition, with such a diverse array of potential workplaces in which students may be placed, it is crucial that we have opportunities to share information from various occupational fields to ensure the best possible choices when placing our students in the community. No one of us can be experts in all types of placements. In addition, as more students join 02 programs or undertake co-op education experiences and as we adopt more 21st century models for education, partnerships between schools and communities will continue to develop. How these partnerships may look will be quite different depending upon the geographic locations in which we work. Urban teachers, students and community members will be looking at issues that may be quite different from those who are living and working in rural communities. We, therefore, envision the goal of such an association to be the undertaking of the important work of exploring creative ways in which to provide equitable services to all students and communities. We believe that while the array of current associations may address some of our specific and individual needs, there presently exists no one association that can address the multi- faceted issues associated with community based education and we wish, therefore, to develop such an association.